MoD taps up its own staff for security work

Ministry of Defence reveals new aptitude test to uncover security talents in armed forces personnel

Army boots

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) is hoping to bridge the security skills gap by tapping into the innate talents of its existing workforce. 

The MoD revealed it has worked with IBM to create a Defence Cyber Aptitude Test (DCAT) to uncover armed forces personnel who have natural talents for "cyber work". 

The test is above and beyond existing selection measures the ministry already uses to decide which military staff would succeed in cyber units, it said. 

The DCAT doesn't measure existing technical knowledge, instead testing "a range of cognitive challenges". It will be used in the early stages of training to suss out potential talent. 

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"It's a useful tool for service career and branch managers to help identify individuals with natural talent and the right skills to succeed at the cutting edge of defence cyber operations," said project lead for cyber tests, Major Harry Porteous. 

The move comes amid a security skills shortage, with calls for industry and universities to step up and help fill the gap

Discussing the aptitude test, Porteous told an HR conference (via Recruiter): "We are in a skills arms race."

At the end of last year, the government pledged to double security spending to 1.9 billion over the next five years, including a National Cyber Centre to be established this year. 

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